, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 427-436

The Effects of Formulation Variables on the Stability of Freeze-Dried Human Growth Hormone

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Formulation often has a dramatic effect on degradation of proteins during the freeze-drying process as well as impacting on the “shelf-life” stability of the freeze-dried product. This research presents the results of a formulation optimization study of the “in-process” and shelf-life stability of freeze-dried human growth hormone (hGH). Chemical decomposition via methionine oxidation and deamidation of asparagine residues as well as irreversible aggregation were characterized by HPLC assay methodology. In-process degradation and stability of low moisture freeze-dried solids were studied at 25 and 40°C in a nominal nitrogen headspace (≈0.5% O2). Formulation variables included pH, level of salts, and the nature of the lyoprotectant. Studies of the effect of shear on aggregation in solutions indicated that shear comparable to that experienced during filtration does not induce aggregation. Irreversible changes in hGH during the freeze-drying process were minimal, but chemical decomposition via methionine oxidation and asparagine deamidation and aggregation did occur on storage of the freeze-dried solid. Decomposition via methionine oxidation was significant. A combination of mannitol and glycine, where the glycine remains amorphous, provided the greatest protection against decomposition and aggregation. It is postulated that an excipient system that remains at least partially amorphous is necessary for stabilization. However, the observation that dextran 40 formulations showed poor stability toward aggregation demonstrates that an amorphous excipient system is not a sufficient condition for stability. Stability of the solid was optimal when produced from solutions in the pH range, 7–7.5, with severe aggregation being observed at high pH. The level of sodium phosphate buffer affected stability of the solid, although this relationship was complex. Freeze-drying in the presence of NaCl produced severe aggregation and precipitation during the freeze-drying process as well as acceleration of oxidation and/or deamidation.